One of the most intuitive predictions of deterrence theory is that an increase in a typical oﬀender’s chance
of being caught decreases crime. This prediction is a core part of Becker’s (1968) account of deterrence theoryand is also present in historical articulations of deterrence theory, such as Beccaria (1764) and Bentham (1789).The prediction is no less important in more recent treatments, such as the models discussed in Lochner (2004),
Burdett, Lagos and Wright (2004), and Lee and McCrary (2009), among others.
On the empirical side, one of the larger literatures in crime focuses on the eﬀect of police on crime, where
police are viewed as a primary factor inﬂuencing the chance of apprehension facing a potential oﬀender.
This literature is ably summarized by Cameron (1988), Nagin (1998), Eck and Maguire (2000), Skogan and
Frydl (2004), and Levitt and Miles (2006), all of whom provide extensive references.
Papers in this literature employ a wide variety of econometric approaches. Early empirical papers such as
Ehrlich (1972) and Wilson and Boland (1978) focused on the cross-sectional association between police and crime.More recently, concern over the potential endogeneity of policing levels has led to a predominance of papers usingpanel data techniques such as ﬁrst-diﬀerencing and, more recently, quasi-experimental techniques such as instru-mental variables (IV) and diﬀerences-in-diﬀerences. Prominent panel data papers include Cornwell and Trumbull(1994), Marvell and Moody (1996), Witt, Clarke and Fielding (1999), Fajnzylber, Lederman and Loayza (2002),
and Baltagi (2006). Some of the leading examples of quasi-experimental papers are Levitt (1997), Di Tella
and Schargrodsky (2004), Klick and Tabarrok (2005), Evans and Owens (2007), and Machin and Marie (2011).
Despite their extraordinary creativity, the quasi-experimental approaches pursued in the literature aretypically limited in terms of their inferences by diﬃculties with precision. For example, a typical ﬁndingfrom this literature is that the police elasticity is larger in magnitude for violent crime than for property
crime. This ﬁnding is often viewed skeptically however, as there is a common belief that violent crimes such
as murder or rape are more apt to be crimes of passion than property crimes such as motor vehicle theft.
However, the standard errors on the violent and property crime estimates from the previous literature have
been large enough that it is unclear whether the diﬀerence in the point estimates is distinguishable from
zero. Indeed, for many of the papers in the literature, estimated police elasticities for speciﬁc crimes are only
Polinsky and Shavell (2000) provide a review of the theoretical deterrence literature that emerged since Becker (1968), with
a particular focus on the normative implications of the theory for the organization of law enforcement strategies.
A related literature considers the eﬃcacy of adoption of “best practices” in policing. Declines incrime have been linked to the adoption of “hot spots” policing (Sherman and Rogan 1995, Sherman and
Weisburd 1995, Braga 2001, Braga 2005, Weisburd 2005, Braga and Bond 2008, Berk and MacDonald 2010), “problem-oriented”policing (Braga, Weisburd, Waring, Mazerolle, Spelman and Gajewski 1999, Braga, Kennedy, Waring and Piehl 2001, Weisburd,Telep, Hinckle and Eck 2010) and a variety of similarly proactive approaches. In this paper, we address the eﬀect of additionalmanpower, under the assumption that police departments operate according to “business-as-usual” practices. As a result, the
estimates we report are likely an underestimate with respect to what is possible if additional oﬃcers are hired and utilized optimally.